Dear Friend and Fellow Athlete,
As most bodybuilders know, the cost of gym memberships can really add up. However, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars a year simply by knowing a few tips about getting cheaper gym memberships.
Bodybuilders and other fitness enthusiasts often see their gym membership as just another monthly bill to pay. After all, if you want to pack on muscle and cut fat, your goal will be much better served by visiting the gym on a regular basis. But even with this being said, the average gym membership costs around $50, and when you include the initiation fee and other charges, the actual cost runs around $60-$70 per month.
Assuming you’re like the average bodybuilder and you don’t have a giant supplement contract waiting in the wings, $60 or $70 really adds up. In some cases, it’s even enough to spark up the whole working out at home vs. gym debate. This being said, it’s definitely to your advantage to get gym memberships as cheaply as possible. And here are some of the best ways to get discounted gym memberships, beginning with haggling.
Gym Membership Haggling
Okay, so how good are you at dealing with car salesman? I personally suck at it, but those who are good at haggling with salesman get cars at a cheaper price. Interestingly enough, the same techniques can be applied to gym memberships, where the better you are at haggling, the more likely you are to get a reduced cost membership.
The first thing to note about this is that all gyms will have a set price that they offer to the average customer. Now some places will stick to this set price – especially the cheaper gyms that already offer low prices – but there are a sizeable amount of gyms that offer some leeway here.
The three main points to consider with a gym are the price, what initiation fees are charged, and the length of the contract; the last part is key because getting out of a gym membership contract is tough. Moving along, when you ask about these three things, you need to seem as if you think the price/contract length is too much. In some cases, this will be enough to get the gym to bargain with you on one or all three of the points.
Assuming the gym doesn’t want to budge, you can always tell them that you’ve found a better deal at another gym, but for some reason, you want to work out at this gym (close to home, you like the neighborhood, etc.). This is normally enough to get the person to meet you halfway, but if it isn’t, there are plenty of other gyms out there.
A gym can always benefit by recruiting mass numbers of members at one time. With this being the case, a lot of gyms will contact local businesses to offer discounted gym memberships to employees. Sometimes you can find these deals just by checking the bulletin board at your local workplace.
Unfortunately, not all businesses put these deals up on a bulletin board, or anywhere for that matter. In fact, you might have to do a little digging just to find out if your employer has any such deals. If this sounds like your situation, you can always talk to the human resources department to inquire about any gym membership discounts they might have.
Gym Membership Tax Deduction
A lot of people ask the question, “Is a gym membership tax deductible?” The answer all depends on what your workplace/insurance provider has to say on the matter. With a gym membership tax deduction, your initial gym fees won’t be lowered, but whatever you spend will increase your tax return at the end of the year. What’s nice about this is that you could actually get more money back than with a simple membership discount.
Sometimes, you can get a gym membership tax deduction when your doctor prescribes more exercise to you; this would essentially be a medical expense tax deduction. Assuming your job demands a lot of physical labor and/or that you stay in good shape, you could be eligible for a gym membership tax deduction. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, check out this discussion thread: Tax deduction for gym membership?
General interest in fitness rises and falls throughout the year. And when this interest is high, gyms like to capitalize by offering their biggest discounts and deals. You can especially find some good deals at the beginning of January, when many people begin going to the gym more because of their New Year’s resolutions.
Some of the deals that you can find in January – or any other discounted season – include reduced gym membership prices, free supplements for signing up, free workout gear, and even free months with your new membership deal. So make sure to check out your local gym around the beginning of the year, or any time the season changes to find good deals on memberships.
College Student Discounts
Seeing as how college students are away from home for eight or nine months out of the year, they wouldn’t exactly get full use out of a gym membership. However, some of these students are looking for a place to work out when they come home for the summer. And since they’re only home for three or four months before heading off to school again, many gyms are willing to offer a special student gym membership.
Sticking with the student gym membership subject, another thing worth mentioning is that college town gyms usually offer collective discounts to universities to bring in more customers. So if you are still in school, make sure to do a little digging, and find out if any gyms cater to your university. Assuming they do, you could save quite a bit of money.
Online Gym Membership Discounts
Another way that you can find a gym membership discount is to look online for deals around your area. The best way to do this is by looking up local gyms, and going to their website (if they have one). Sometimes gyms will post specials right on their website, which saves you the hassle of a face-to-face meeting with someone.
Even if there are no great deals or specials to be found, you can always email the gym to inquire about a discounted membership. And for many people, this is preferable to directly meeting with a gym representative, and letting them talk you into a deal that you’re not truly confident about. For tips on dealing with a gym through email, check out the aforementioned section on Gym Membership Haggling.
Looking at this from a broad perspective, keep in mind that any time you can reduce your gym membership fee, you are putting money back into your pocket. And don’t be willing to accept any gym membership just because it’s the first place you visit. After all, there are some fantastic deals to be had out there, and it only takes a little effort on your part to find them.
Here's some links to relates articles and discussions on the Elite Fitness Forums.
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